The Significance of a Unified and Centralized EU to US and Possible Repercussions of Brexit
In light of the decision of the British people to leave the European Union (EU), there are a few things we must all understand about the EU. As an organization or “union” of 28 European nations, the EU is not what it may seem on the surface, and it is many things that are neither advertised, nor widely known or understood.
Before we delve into what it is and what it isn’t, let’s remember where its roots are and who its founding members are. This is only logical. If you were to analyze and form an opinion about an association or organization, you’d want to know who its founding members are and what their philosophy, worldview and mission is. You’d want to know what their real motives are and how they make their decisions and set policy.
Since the industrial revolution and their development into major economic and military powers, most of the developed European countries set out to conquer, exploit and loot the underdeveloped nations around the world, especially in Africa, Asia, Middle East and the Americas. European colonialism and imperialism of the last few hundred years has been responsible for amassing an incredible amount of wealth for their European ruling elite, taken by brute force from their conquered countries, costing millions of deaths and total devastation and impoverishment of their subject nations.
But, such plundering of the underdeveloped nations by the ruling classes of these various European powers could not have been without rivalry amongst them. Such rivalry and race for taking as much as they could from colonized and occupied people resulted in two world wars that ended up killing tens of millions of people, both from the countries that they were competing over and from the developed countries.
The reason this is important to note is because not much has changed. We’re still living in an era of brutal world imperialism that literally destroys entire nations and kills hundreds of thousands or millions of its inhabitants to make the wealthy ruling classes of imperialist nations even richer. What is different now is that now, the United States is the indisputable leader of the gang of imperialist states. This came about after World War II, which devastated Europe and weakened its warring countries, leaving the US mostly unscathed and in a position to reap the benefits of the war and establish itself as a superpower and the leader of world imperialism.
What this means is that there were no more relatively equal states with relatively equal powers competing over the spoils and loot of the third world, but one superpower who would call the shots, set policy for and rule over the imperialist bloc, in a way similar to how the Mafia used to operate or how drug cartels function when they gang together and divide up territory.
The US would, according to this new world order, allow European ruling classes and their corporations to operate within certain parameters, as long as they accepted its leadership and as long as they would recognize and respect its territories of control and exploitation. The US Marshall Plan for the reconstruction and redevelopment of Europe was offered with that understanding. Individual governments did not have to officially and formally announce their allegiance to the US, but it was implied and understood and if any leftist or populist government tried to cross that line, the US would waste no time reminding it who the boss was. Besides, its military bases and troops left in individual countries after the war were not for handing out birthday gifts to local generals and politicians. They were meant to impose the leader’s wishes on those nations.
Steve Pieczenik, an international crisis manager and hostage negotiator in the US State Department, admitted in his book “We Killed Aldo Moro”, published in 2008, that the US had a hand in the murder of Moro, the former Italian prime minister, who was murdered in 1978. He wrote that Moro, a leftist, had been “sacrificed” for the “stability” of Italy. In 2006, when Israel was bombing Lebanon, destroying its infrastructure and killing hundreds of its citizens, the European public grew uneasy and indignant. When their governments called for a meeting with the US to ask for an end to the bombing, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice flew to Europe and reminded them that the bombing would stop when the US says it must stop. The meeting was adjourned and they all went home.
It was the same story about the war in Libya and Syria, the sanctions on Iran and Russia and the economic offer extended to Ukraine, after the CIA and State Department organized the coup. The US had a hand even in the draconian loan and austerity program that EU imposed on Greece. After whistle blower Edward Snowden took refuge in Russia to avoid prosecution in the US, the Bolivian presidential plane carrying President Evo Morales from Russia, where he had attended a conference of gas producing nations back to Bolivia, was not allowed to land in any European country for refueling. Ordinarily presidential planes are as an accepted international protocol, allowed to land for refueling. When it was finally ordered to land in Austria, Austrian authorities boarded the presidential plane without the President’s permission and searched for Snowden, while ordering the President to sit and wait, all at the order of US State Department, because they thought President Morales might be taking Snowden with him to Bolivia. Most recently, which is ongoing right now, the EU is participating in encircling Russia by moving heavy NATO weapons and troops to Russia’s borders and participating in bombing Syria. These are only a few among many such examples.
One might ask what makes the EU and its member states comply with US orders and wishes. The answer is their own self interests, which are aligned with the US’, specifically the interests of their ruling wealthy classes, which rivalry aside – which as I indicated, has been settled and set aside, if only temporarily – they share the same interests as the US ruling class and benefit from US militarism and wars. European imperialist countries and specifically their multinational corporations, too, benefit from US wars. Imperialism needs and lives on wars for its continued exploitation of the third world. In effect, the military aspect of imperialism has been left to the US with European imperialists playing a supportive role. Since military decides and prepares the economic sphere of imperialism, naturally the US gets to also call economic shots. In short, imperialism isn’t like it used to be. Unlike individual rival imperialist states of the past, they are now in a cartel or a bloc, under a central leadership.
This came about mostly to confront the former Soviet Union, as a unified front. The front continued to exist and operate after the breakup of the Soviet Union since it was deemed more effective in taking out obstacles in the path of imperialism for the long term goal of taking over and controlling the whole world. Such a unified cartel of imperialist states made it easier for the US to go to war against Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, impose sanctions on Iran and Russia and finally to surround Russia for an eventual military confrontation.
So far, I’ve described the relationship between the US and the European imperialist nations that form the EU. But, what is the EU and what is its function and mission? Let’s first see what it isn’t. What it’s not is an association or “Union” of equals with equal rights and authorities. In fact, the very purpose in creating it had to do with the unevenness among its members and was designed to make the economic gap between the wealthier and poorer nations even bigger. This is exactly also the object of US imposed “trade agreements” with various nations within its sphere of influence. Its real purpose was to allow the more developed countries within the union to exploit the workers of the less developed ones. Basically, EU is NAFTA or TPP on steroids. It is the epitome of neoliberalism. It is neoliberalism in its most advanced and most predatory stage. Its mission was to allow the corporations, especially multinational banks, of the more developed countries, especially those of Germany and France, to get rich off the people of poorer nations like Greece, Portugal, Spain, Ireland and Italy.
What the EU also isn’t is democratic. In fact, it is extremely undemocratic. It transfers the decision making from the purview of elected officials within individual nations to a central commission in Brussels.
So, what is the significance of EU to the US? Why does the US prefer a unified, centralized and strong EU? For the same reason why it prefers despotic kingdoms like Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf kingdoms or otherwise a military dictatorship such as the one on Egypt, for its “friends” and “allies”, rather than democratic governments that answer to the will of their people. It’s much easier to control and issue orders to the former type of governance than the latter. One central authority that sets policy for all European nations is likewise much easier to influence, control and coax than individual democratic states that have to go through their individual parliaments for setting policy.
What does the US want from the EU? The same thing it has expected of Europe since the Second World War: military, economic, political and diplomatic cooperation in subduing and overthrowing uncooperative governments, towards the ultimate goal of achieving complete and total world domination for their corporations and corporate profits.
Imperialism, in its constant search for profits, needs world hegemony, in order to exploit cheap labor and natural resources, to dominate over markets and to ensure unhindered and cooperative social, political and economic conditions for maximizing profits. This requires endless military interventions and wars, which the US has taken upon itself to conduct because it’s uniquely capable of it. But, not without help from the others, who share the benefits of imperialism with the US. This is why it’s expected of the European governments to allocate a portion of their budgets to their military and support US military interventions. The idea of “leading from behind”, which has been advocated by Obama, especially in regards to the attack on Libya, was meant to urge EU to get more involved with military actions. During his interview with Jeffery Goldberg of the Atlantic, late December of last year and early January of this year, which was printed in the April issue of the publication, Obama expressed frustration with Europe, specifically with Britain and France. He said he had expected them to take the lead in the Libyan war.
What is clear is that the European and American imperialism of the last couple hundred years has not changed in any significant way. What has changed is that the imperialist states have set aside their wars amongst themselves – at least for now – and have created an imperialist bloc under the US leadership. The wars against the third world, which imperialism always finds necessary and inevitable, has fallen mostly on the shoulders of the US, with Europeans playing a supportive role. In such a scenario, the US would naturally prefer a centralized governing body in Europe that would make it easier for them to play that required role, in a continent where the last world war is still in people’s minds.
European governments’ policies do not necessarily reflect the wishes of the majority of their population, from their support for Israel to their participation in US initiated wars to the US provocation against Russia. But, a centralized government in Brussels makes these governments even less democratic and literally more removed from their populations and less reflective of their wishes. And, that’s especially important now that the US is pressing them to encircle Russia for an eventual confrontation, in order to meet the objective that imperialism, and specifically US empire, always strives for, at any cost, even at the expense of another world war, namely, world domination for corporations and their owners.
The British exit from the EU will most likely not change much in British policies or its relationship with the US or the role it plays within imperialism. What the “Brexit” may engender, however, is that it may encourage other members to leave, as well, which could result in the dismantling of the EU, altogether. That too will probably not have much impact on Europe’s role in world imperialism. However, it could make it harder for them to ignore the wishes of their people and comply with US orders and that is a good thing. And that may just be enough to slow or even stop US dangerous provocation and aggression against Russia, which could potentially lead to a new world war in Europe, which could be fought with nuclear weapons.